Researchers collaborate across disciplines at RAND to evaluate terrorist, military, nuclear, cyber, and other threats to U.S. national security — identifying emerging threats, scrutinizing known risks, and evaluating potential strategic and tactical responses. Recent studies have included examinations of al Qaeda, the Afghan insurgency, and Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
The fact is that the United States needs to gear up for the coming era of cyber threats — and start by ensuring its financial flank is not catastrophically compromised, writes Mark Sparkman.
The lesson here is not that countries should act for the sake of maintaining credibility but that they should act when they believe it serves their interests and might make a difference, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.
The effectiveness of our attacks, particularly by drones, has already decimated the al Qaeda hierarchy, writes Harold Brown. That achievement, together with the negative effect on Muslim publics of drone attacks, suggests that the rate of their usage could be moderated.
Involvement can transform members of the public from helpless bystanders into active participants in their own defense, thereby reducing fear and alarm, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Basing public safety decisions on risk analysis allows authorities to devote public resources to those counterterrorism measures that have the potential to do the most good, writes Henry Willis.
The swift march into Mali by a band of Islamist thugs demonstrates an efficient, opportunistic filling of a security vacuum more than an increase in jihadist power or influence, writes Andy Liepman.
While the event in Russia was caused by a medium-sized (10,000-ton) meteor, larger objects, like the asteroid 2012 DA14 that also passed near Earth last week, have the potential to be significantly more damaging, write Dave Baiocchi and William Welser.
As Secretary of State Kerry and former senator Chuck Hagel outline their thinking on the nation's strategy, let us hope that they both hold firm to the strategy that has served us well in the past and have the courage to explore a very different set of political and military ways to accomplish it, write Lynn Davis and Andrew Hoehn.
Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.
There is a danger in viewing Mali through the prism of counter-terrorism, since the rebel element there is tangled up in movements and groups with a wide variety of interests and motives, ranging from sincere religious conviction to local political rivalries to base economic opportunism, writes Michael Shurkin.
Understanding when the United States should engage in cyberwar and who should approve cyberattacks requires understanding that cyberwar has multiple personalities: operational, strategic, and that great gray area in-between., writes Martin Libicki.
As in most war zones and high threat environments, one of the dangers to guard against is complacency...people become accustomed to a certain level of danger and assume that they have everything under control, when in fact they may have not fully thought through the problems posed by an enemy that is continually innovating, writes William Young.
Like it or not, the United States counts among its allies a number of authoritarian Arab countries, and they are essential partners in protecting its interests, writes Seth G. Jones. The normative hope that liberal democracy may flourish in the future must be balanced by the need to work with governments and societies as they exist today.
The prudent approach is to decide on a strategic direction that provides a framework for prioritizing which forces and equipment the United States should preserve and determining which can be trimmed or eliminated with limited risk to security, write Stuart Johnson and Irv Blickstein.
It is thus not surprising that people report a willingness to trade convenience, money, and liberty for security. Legal precedent reinforces that decreased civil liberties may be accepted when confronting existential threats with demonstrably effective security—to a point, writes Henry H. Willis.
Whatever its eventual outcome, Syria's civil war has already produced thousands of experienced jihadists who will continue to threaten the region for years to come, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
While many observers of North Korea have been surprised by the apparently peaceful ascension of Kim Jong-Un, there are reasons to believe that the situation in the North is not so stable, writes Bruce Bennett.
Instead of ratcheting back the PreCheck program because of manufactured fears about security lapses, TSA should be encouraged to expand this program to more airlines, more airports and more infrequent travelers, write Jack Riley and Lily Ablon.
Given the broad range of threats facing the United States, including those related to extreme weather, it is imperative that monies invested in enhancing health security be well spent, writes Shoshana Shelton.